Armed Forces Day is May 20. It is part of Armed Forces Week and is an event meant to commemorate and honor all of the men and women who serve and have served in the various branches of the Armed Forces.
In August of 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson created Armed Forces Day as a way to celebrate the joining of the Army, Navy and Air Force under one department — the Department of Defense. This also made it so all of the different branches of the armed forces could be celebrated on one day, instead of having their own individual days. The Marine Corps League declined to drop their day, but fully supported Armed Forces Day.
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated the following year on May 20. The inaugural day included air shows, public demonstrations and parades. The first theme was “Teamed for Defense,” which was to highlight the unification of the various armed forces.
Since that first day, other themes have included “Liberty,” “Patriotism,” “Security,” “Power for Peace,” etc.
This year, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is celebrating Armed Forces Day in its own unique way. Taking place in the visitor center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event will feature a timeline of American servicemen and will feature reenactors portraying frontier militiamen, Revolutionary War soldiers, Civil War soldiers (from both sides), World War II soldiers, Vietnam War soldiers and veterans from today’s modern military.
These reenactors will be performing the hardships that were unique to the soldiers of the time period they are portraying. At 2 p.m. there will be a 21-gun salute featuring a solider from each war to honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces.
For more information on Armed Forces Day, visit www.timeanddate.com
Reach Tyler Eschberger at 606-248-1010 ext. 1126 or on Twitter @TylerEsch89.